Been Hurt on the Job? What to do Next

Hard HatsIf you have been injured on the job, don’t just ignore it.  It doesn’t matter if the injury is big or small. At the first sign of a work place injury, you need to take the right actions in order to protect yourself from consequences later on.

Document. It is vital that you file a report of your injury with your employer. Make a copy to keep for yourself.  All incidents must be included in the report. This will help you in your case if you are filing for worker’s compensation.  It can also help investigate any hazards in your workplace. In North Dakota, fill out the first report of injury form. Your employer is responsible for submitting this form to Workforce Safety.

Get Help. Make an appointment with your doctor right away.  Inform them that this was a workplace injury and present them with the documentation that you have filled out. The first doctor that you see will be your primary doctor for the injury. Any requests for workers compensation must be completed through them. Make sure to choose the correct doctor before making the appointment.

If you saw a doctor before reporting the incident to your employer, make sure all paperwork is submitted through Workforce Safety to ensure the proper steps are taken by all parties. You will likely be directed to fill out paperwork for your employer as well.

  • Report back to your Employer: After a visit with your doctor, they will likely send you a form documenting your capabilities. They may or may not limit the work you are able to perform. Communication is key. It is your responsibility to share the limitations that have been recommended by your doctor to your employer and supervisor.

Speak with a Claims Adjuster: Your employer or doctor should have submitted a report of injury to Workforce Safety. Once this is completed, a claims adjuster will contact you to inform you of your claims status. This may result in limited work or a specified number of doctor’s visits. If your claim has been denied, your claims adjuster will be able to explain what steps you will be able to take in order to have your claim reviewed.

Other Remedies available outside worker’s compensation:   Under North Dakota law if you are injured at work through the fault of yourself, a coworker, or employer, generally worker’s compensation is an exclusive remedy unless you can prove intentional harm.  However, worker’s compensation is NOT an exclusive remedy when your injury is from the fault or negligence of a third party. So if you are working on a job site and are injured by another person working for a different company, or if you are hit by a car while driving to your job site, then you probably have a remedy against the party who harmed you while you were working. Of course it is extremely important to document all parties involved in the incident with their contact information.

Keep in mind that if you receive worker’s compensation and accept any of its money or benefits, you most likely will be unable to sue your employer; however you will be able to seek reimbursement for those harms if they were the fault of a third party working outside of your company. If you feel that you are entitled to more than what worker’s compensation can provide, contact one of the O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Foss’s attorneys to review your case. When meeting with an attorney, come prepared with any and all documentation of the injury cases in which you were injured, and documentation you have received from your doctor.

Photo Courtesy of Michelle Laurence/Flickr